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Race forms for Mabton School Board seat

MABTON - During a special election filing period last week two candidates filed for the Mabton School Board Pos. 2 at-large seat currently held by David Rodriguez, who is not seeking re-election.

The special filing was needed because no candidates signed up for Rodriguez's seat during the regular filing period earlier this summer.

The two candidates are Natalie Palomarez and Vijay Parulkar.

Palomarez, a lifelong Mabton resident, is a family service worker for the Washington State Migrant Council office in Sunnyside.

"I've always been interested in the school board," says Palomarez, who has a degree in social work from Heritage University. "Education is really important to me. I want to work with the school board to improve the quality of life for the students and the community."

Parulkar is a support specialist with SL Start, which assists the developmentally disabled.

He has a degree in chemistry from Eastern Washington University and a degree in chemistry, physics and math from University of Bombay, India.

"It is my goal to partner with the board in executing actions to provide a quality education in an optimum learning environment," Parulkar says of his desire to seek the post.

A second Mabton school board seat, Dist. 2, currently held by Blanche Tobin is still without a candidate. A replacement will have to be appointed by the school board because Tobin is stepping away from the post.

Two other offices attracted Lower Valley candidates during the special filing period. Both are for Yakima County Fire District #7 commissioner seats.

YCFD #7 fire chief Mike Copenhefer of Mabton filed to run for the Pos. 1 commissioner seat.

Copenhefer says he put his hat into the ring because many of the district's volunteer firefighters do not live within YCFD #7 boundaries.

The district's area stretches from the foot of the Mabton hills south to the Klickitat County boundary line, east to the Benton County boundary line and west to the Yakama Nation's boundary.

Copenhefer, a retired law enforcement officer, has been the district's chief for the past six years.

Also filing during the special period was Tom Mains, who is seeking re-election to the YCFD #7, Pos. 2, commissioner seat.

Mains, also of Mabton, said he planned to seek re-election from the get-go, but missed the regular filing deadline.

A former fire chief for YCFD #7, Mains has been with the district for more than 35 years. "I'm a lifetimer," the self-employed farmer quipped.

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